Gold Coast Marathon

Swim, ride, run: kid-friendly endurance events across Queensland

Forget cheering from the sidelines. A growing number of young athletes are joining Mum and Dad on the track, in the ocean and on the sand to compete for their own glory and unwavering sense of achievement in kid-friendly endurance events. 

If your kids are more participator than spectator, sign the gang up, grab your bibs and run to these top kid-friendly endurance events across Queensland.

HAMILTON ISLAND TRIATHLON

Hamilton Island Triathlon

When: 23-24 November 2019

The lowdown: As if you need another excuse to head to Hamilton Island, but here it is anyway. Part of the Hamilton Island Endurance Series, the two-day event includes the adults’ Tri on the Saturday, before the kids take to the track on Sunday along with the Whitehaven Beach Ocean Swim on the nearby world-famous strip of sand. 

Kids will love: The Junior Hamilton Island Triathlon is split into three distances with a long race (250 swim/5km bike/2km run), mid-range (150m swim/3km bike/1km run) and a short race (50m swim/1km bike/500m run) as well as a Splash ‘n’ Dash version of each distance for anyone who doesn’t love the ride component. 

After the race: The Great Barrier Reef is only a short boat ride away as is a relaxing family day on Whitehaven Beach. 

MOOLOOLABA TRIATHLON FESTIVAL

kid-friendly endurance events Queensland

When: 13-15 March 2020

The lowdown: The Mooloolaba Triathlon Festival has family written all over it, with the highlight being the Superkidz event on the Saturday. For the adults, the main event is the Olympic distance Mooloolaba Triathlon. 

For the kids who just love running, the Mooloolaba Twilight Run, a 5km dash, is perfect for parents and grandparents to join in and help each other across the line. 

Kids will love: The aforementioned Superkidz Triathlon, split into two legs: 7-10 year olds (100m swim/1km bike/500m run) and 11-13 year olds (200m swim/3km bike/1km run) where they can pick up their own well-earned and highly coveted finishers singlet. 

After the race: Shake “hands” with a cheeky seal at Sea Life Sunshine Coast or, even better, swim with one.

CAIRNS IRONMAN

kid-friendly endurance events Queensland

When: 6-7 June 2020

The lowdown: Held in one of Queensland’s most idyllic destinations, this heart-pumping weekend is just another reason to visit tropical Cairns. The biggest crowds turn out to watch the IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship and the IRONMAN 70.3, but there’s plenty of action in the water, too. For athletes keen to get wet, there is the impressive Quicksilver Reef Swim off stunning Green Island (try not to get distracted by the fish and coral).

Kids will love: The IRONKIDS Cairns, a triathlon designed just for them where they’ll get to swim through the Esplanade Lagoon, ride along the Esplanade and run across the boardwalk. The main aim is to have fun, and it’s easy to do with plenty of prizes to win and high-fives to receive. 

After the race: Keep the holiday vibes going with this 7-day Tropical North Queensland itinerary

GOLD COAST MARATHON

When: 4-5 July 2020

The lowdown: Join 28,000 competitors from more than 50 countries as they battle it out in one of the world’s leading endurance events, the Gold Coast Marathon. There are eight races in total, including the main 42km GC marathon, a wheelchair marathon and a 10km run. 

Kids will love: Putting all their energy to good use by hitting the pavement in the 2km and 4km Junior Dash races. Children between the ages of five and 10 can enter the 2km event and can have a parent run with them if they need extra support. For the 4km event, the age bracket is five to 14, while there’s no age restriction for the fun run, so why not make it a multi-generational day out?

After the race: Celebrate by heading to Dreamworld for a tiger selfie and some heart-pumping action of a different kind.

MCDONALD’S TOWNSVILLE RUNNING FESTIVAL

kid-friendly endurance events Queensland

When: 2 August 2020

The lowdown: If you find peace in hitting the pavement or you’re keen to get your calves burning, this is the festival for you. A whopping seven events make up an action-packed McDonalds Townsville Running Festival that includes a marathon and half marathon, as well as 10km, 5km and 2.5km races. The festival has been running (pardon the pun) since 1972 and claims to be Australia’s second longest held annual marathon. 

Kids will love: The 2.5km Hero Run, during which kids can run or walk alongside mum or dad sporting their favourite hero outfits, crossing the line as Batman, Wonder Women or whatever outfit they randomly chose on the morning of. 

After the race: Check out the cool kid-friendly exhibits at the Museum of Tropical Queensland before popping next door to Reef HQ.

COOLANGATTA GOLD

When: October 2020

The lowdown: Claiming to be one of the most challenging endurance races on the Aussie calendar, the Coolangatta Gold is the place to really test your stamina. Held in October annually, this is when serious competitors kick off the surf season by hitting the sand at waters of Coolangatta and wider Gold Coast. For the kids, an abridged, yet still challenging course is designed for aspiring lifesavers. 

Kids will love: Being a part of the big group plunging into the water for the Youth Challenge. The course is a fun mix including a 300m soft sand run, 400m swim, 400m run, 500m board and final 50m sprint to finishing arch. Better still the event is split into two age categories – under 11s and under 16s.

After the race: Indulge in a Cafe DBAR signature shake and if you’re up for it, check out the ‘Claim to Fame’ section on the menu.